ReligionSkepticism

Televangelist Offers to Cure You with Silver, not Prayer

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Transcript:

God, I’m so tired of talking about, reading about, and thinking about COVID-19. I know, let’s do a video mocking some good old-fashioned skeptic-bait: televangelists! Let’s see, how about good old Jim Bakker? Remember back in 1987 when the actress and model Jessica Hahn accused Bakker of drugging and raping her, and so he paid her $279k out of his ministry’s funds to shut her up? And how the next year he was indicted for wire fraud after stealing millions of dollars from the “Praise the Lord Club” and sentenced to 45 years in prison? But then it was reduced to 8 years, and then he got out on parole after 5 years thanks to his lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, alleged pedophile and good pal to Jeffrey Epstein? Yeah, those were good times.

Anyway, let’s see what Jim is up to these days:

https://twitter.com/RightWingWatch/status/1227657884395327489

WHAT THE FUCK

That’s right, Jim Bakker is telling his congregation that god has abandoned them and their only hope for salvation from coronavirus is to drink “silver sol” (cache) three times a day, or to put it into their Pax and vape it.

So what is “silver sol”? Well, Jim makes that very, very difficult to figure out. There are no ingredients listed, so at first I assumed it was just colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is a popular alternative medicine treatment that is sold to cure just about every disease but in fact cures just about no diseases. It’s a mineral solution in which microscopic flakes of silver are suspended, which people are encouraged to then drink. 

Silver does have antimicrobial properties, so it might actually be useful when used topically and in things like bandages to help wounds heal faster. But ingesting it doesn’t do anything but fuck you up — it can interfere with any antibiotics you may be taking as well as some other medications, and it can also turn you into an actual living god damn smurf man, as demonstrated by poor Paul Karason. This is a condition known as argyria, and while it’s not really dangerous it isn’t a great look. Karason enjoyed a certain amount of infamy in the mid-2000s thanks to his penchant for eating colloidal silver. He died in 2013 at the age of 62 due to a heart attack that led to pneumonia that led to a stroke. It’s hard to say whether the silver contributed to that, considering he was a heavy smoker who apparently had lots of other unhealthy habits.

But it seems that SilverSol isn’t colloidal silver: according to Jim Bakker’s page of resources and “studies,” (here it is cached) it’s actually nano silver. So what’s nano silver? Well, it’s a mineral solution in which microscopic flakes of silver are suspended, which people are encouraged to then drink. Yeah, it’s colloidal silver with a trendy new name that isn’t associated with a man who looks like Papa Smurf smurfed some meth.

Jim Bakker’s page of studies is quite something. The one “peer-reviewed study” listed was performed by Gordon Pederson of “American Biotech Labs” in Utah, which a quick Google search confirms is a “privately held silver nanotechnology company” that produces SilverSol. The study was published in the Journal of Science of Healing Outcomes, a publication devoted to alternative medicine with a board of directors stocked with psychic healers and other assorted kooks. Like, for instance, Andrew Weil, a star quack who pretty much set the standard for “wellness” promoters who first preach against real science-based medicine and then conveniently offer alternative treatments (that don’t work) in their place for a modest sum. And then there’s Effie Chow, acupuncturist and QiGong practitioner (QiGong being the art of moving very slowly to magically channel an energy that doesn’t exist to promote healing, while spending a lot of money and regretting it later). Marilyn Schlitz believes she can heal people with her mind powers, and my favorite director, Brian Josephson, sits alongside these guys as a Nobel-prize winning physicist. While he did do important work on quantum tunnelling in the 60s, in the ‘70s he got super into transcendentalism, the bullshit cult that thinks you can meditate your way to perfect health and self-awareness, as well as the ability to actually fly, which is, in reality, just morons hopping up and down on their asses while sitting criss-cross applesauce. So now Josephson lends his name to….well, this “journal.”

So yes, silver has antibiotic properties, which is why it is used in some medical and culinary applications, but drinking it has not been found by any serious studies to have a positive impact on your health and well-being. Unless you’re tired of looking so pale, in which case it may be healthier than tanning.

Kudos to the New York Attorney General, the FDA, and the FTC for moving quickly to tell Bakker to shut the fuck up with his bogus claims that his miracle cure can fight coronavirus. It’s a pipe dream but it sure would be nice if someone could get Bakker back behind bars to serve out the other 40 years of that initial prison sentence. And this time, Alan Dershowitz might be too busy with his own lawsuits to be able to help.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve had alt med and “natural” medicine types tell me that Karason only turned blue from colloidal silver because he made it himself and did it wrong. Pointing out that he’s not the only one gets me nowhere.

  2. Next step is combining colloidal silver with homeopathy. Like cures like, so extremely diluted doses of silver will eliminate all wealth from your body. This is the first provable effective homeopathic treatment, ever. It works because you end up sending all your money to Jim Bakker to pay for the “medicine”.

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